Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity: Did It?

Some of the scenes from yesterday's "Rally to Restore Sanity" at the Washington D.C. Mall.

Yesterday's D.C. "Rally to Restore Sanity" commanded 200,000 strong (based on latest national park estimates) or roughly double the numbers at the Beck fear rally held nearly ten weeks earlier. The Rally, which featured comedians Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart also had many serious undertones that bespoke to the sad political condition of our country, that so many (of the Tea Party contingent) could be so mad at everything, with so little constructive ideas forthcoming.

So, the question occurs: Did the Rally to Restore Sanity actually restore much to the country overall? Difficult to say. The most we can conclude is that the rally restored some civility to about two hundred thousand on the Washington Mall at that time. As opposed to the hangover of fear and loathing, a more light hearted tone was taken - though there were also signs that alerted one to the zeitgeist currently sweeping the nation.

Some of the signs:

"Righties, don't stomp on my head"

(The above a reference to a Republican rally in Kentucky at which a liberal activist was pulled to the ground and stomped on by a Rand Paul Tea bagger. )

"Real patriots can handle a difference in opinion"

"It could be worse but let's not make it that way"

"Death to Nobody"


"I wouldn't care if the president was Muslim"

Of course, the sad fact is that nearly 35% of the populace do care, and also - would care if the president was an atheist. But then, those are the tea baggers, all united in their outrage, but not quite sure what they are so outraged about. I mean, think of it! (Even some of the teepees who may be reading this, including one "james p.b." who alas didn't have his comment posted yesterday because it was top-heavy in f-words, and a-words. A clue to any such readers: If you want to be posted here, clean up your language. If you can't do that, don't bother to make the effort. And further, if you don't like the blog topic or topics, don't read the damned blog! Go on a march or find an old Beck or Hannity tape or dvd to occupy your time.)

The thing that's most distressing about the teepees is their total lack of interest in solving actual problems that face this nation, problems for which the collective action via government is absolutely essential. (One of which, ironically, is the metastasization of corporate power of the form that is funding most of the tea party networks through the Koch brothers! With no small help from a co-opted Supreme Court through its 'Citizens United' ruling)

Other disturbing aspects:

- Many of the tea partyers are middle and lower middle class, the very folks who could benefit from having their kids enrolled in their own job-based health benefits or insurance - yet they rail and screech against "Obamacare". I guess they just can't wait to shell out all the extra thousands to keep their young adult kids safe.

- Many or most raise hell against the stimulus and the bank bailouts and deficits created, but most can't distinguish between the two or why each was necessary to avoid another Depression (Especially the bond-rating agency AIG). Lacking adequate economics knowledge, I doubt most would know what a credit default swap is, or be able to differentiate between the demand and supply side of the economy. (Here's a useful clue: to get a quick handle on it all, be sure to try to see 'The Insider' at a theater near you. It has the lowdown on the whole financial meltdown and delivered in 1 hour 20 minutes)

- Many are incensed about the magnitude of the deficits, but unaware that nine-tenths were in place before Obama even took office! (Indeed, most don't know that the TARP -toxic assets relief program - was begun under Bush, not Obama) These deficits were primarily associated with: the Iraq and Afghan occupations (begun in 2003, and 2001 respectively), the Medicare Modernization legislation (2003) - which was actually a corporate welfare giveaway to Big PhRma and the HMOs; and the Bush 2001 and 2002 tax cuts - responsible for nearly $2.2 trillion in deficits alone including interest to be paid. Total deficits before Obama arrived: $7.7 trillion.

Meanwhile, others ramp up against "entitlements" but I've yet to see any of them burn their Social Security or Medicare cards. Nor have I seen one of them correctly castigate and blame the enormous bulk of military spending - now nearly 55 cents of each dollar, and more than the total of the next 45 nations combined, including Russia and China. Thus, anyone truly serious about deficit cutting needs to look at paring defense spending. And before you come back with the nonsense that "defense is the only spending allowed in the Constitution" I want you to check the Preamble to the Constitution - where it clearly states one major function of government is to "promote the GENERAL welfare".

Not "military welfare", not "corporate welfare", but GENERAL WELFARE.

Meanwhile, railing against "socialism" and calling for a return to the Constitution will not solve a single problem - if the basis for the problems is not understood in the context of the solution actually needed. And speaking of that, a correct take from a liberal blog:

"You can't foam at the mouth about what a freaking socialist Barack Obama is and then call him a Nazi at the same time. Unless, of course, you happen not to mind looking like a moron. Which, of course, all too many Americans don't anymore"


In contrast to the Beck rally to "restore honor"(sic) some nine weeks ago, replete with dour white folks, this one featured diverse crowds from across the spectrum who were festive, goofy, disillusioned with the state of politics if not the nation, and ready to play nice at a gathering called to counter all the shouting and flying insults of these polarized times. So were the hosts.

The problem is that, unfortunately, it takes two sides to have a civil, thoughtful nation or rather people. It is not even clear that most of those in attendance at the" Sanity Rally" understood the nation's problems any more deeply than the tea party brigade. Most, it seemed, were simply there to have a good time, and be in the midst of their own "Woodstock", since a number of performers appeared, including Ozzy Osborne, and Sheryl Crow and The Roots.

While this is nice, it's not a substitute for solving the nation's problems or returning us to a state of comity as opposed to near civil war. Somehow, and some way, a means must be found for the two sides to reach across the divide and actually communicate, as opposed to shouting (writing) strings of f-bombs like my friend 'james p.b.' did in his comment. F-bombs don't get us anywhere or move us closer to solutions, and I doubt they even have much therapeutic value for the f-bomber, other than to confer a temporary patina of machismo or some pseudo-relief to the effect that,....There....I got the bastard to see how I feel at last! (Actually not, since as soon as I read the pre-clips on Blogger -for the comment to be moderated- and spot even two consecutive f-bombs, the 'delete' button is engaged. I refuse to waste time wading through some ill thought out, disrespectful garbage).

At the same time, I have some intimate idea of how the typical tea party associate feels, and understand a lot is rooted in Obama's presidency....and the sense he evokes an "elitist" attitude or demeanor. (I was also called an "elitist" or rather "elitist asshole" in the colorful comment from yesterday which I deleted). I discovered this via exchanges with two of my brothers, one in Oklahoma (a "red state" if ever there was one, and indeed, which 'james p.b' may even be a resident of) and the other the preacher in Florida. Going through all their emails and posts since the 2008 campaign (which I saved) what I see is not only that they believed Obama not to be an American rather a "Muslim", but also callow and pretentious, without the experience that a John Mc Cain would have brought.

Also, like most tea partyers, neither of them actually believed Obama would win. When he did, it came over as a massive shock. As the shock gradually wore off (as with most current TPs), it transmuted to fear, then anger: "What the hell have we got ourselves in for with this guy?" Yet, 53% of the voting populace cast their ballots for him, so it was no fluke. Whatever happened to accepting the results of an election without drama or fanfare or bellicosity? (The Bush case in 2000 was different, since we know the Florida vote saw nearly 58,000 black voters deliberately disenfranchised using tactics approved by then Secretary Katherine Harrise: See 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy', Chapter One, for copies of Harris directives in her letters and other evidence, including the fake felon rolls that disqualified black voters, especially in Duval County.)

My worry is that if a Republican wins in 2012 then what? Is the other 35% of the partisan divide going to be militantly against him (or her)? Is that portion going to reject that elected person as their president? Are they going to mount endless investigations, subpoenas for some past wrongdoing, or whatever? Are they going to paint Hitler mustaches on her face? Or, call him or her a "Nazi" or worse?

When does it end? Or does it? Until we as a nation resolve this impasse, and agree that whoever is elected (assuming that no disenfranchisement methods are used, including via computer techniques) merits our respect as the president of all of us, we shall remain a nation divided. And as we know, united we stand, but divided we fall.

Until we all process that, however we can, our nation will remain a sham and not worth "taking back" - because only a whole nation is worthy of the name.

Until we figure this out, rallies like the "restore honor" or "restore sanity" will do neither, and we will continue to spiral down a tortured path to total destruction - without one external enemy having to fire a shot.

Think about it!


Caleb Shay said...

"Even some of the teepees who may be reading this, including one "james p.b." who alas didn't have his comment posted yesterday because it was top-heavy in f-words, and a-words. A clue to any such readers: If you want to be posted here, clean up your language. If you can't do that, don't bother to make the effort. And further, if you don't like the blog topic or topics, don't read the damned blog! Go on a march or find an old Beck or Hannity tape or dvd to occupy your time"

Jeezus, not another one of these twits! (Recalling the goobers that attacked you some three years ago for your speculations on the origin of UFOs). What's the matter with people like this? If they don't like your blog there are hundreds of conservative and tea party blogs to keep them occupied. Why waste time here?

Also, it makes me suspicious that whoever this guy james p.b. is it's more likely he's someone you already know than you don't. Could even be one or other of your bros in disguise. Or, one of the earlier pests.

Most real 'teepees' as you call them wouldn't waste their time on your blog because well, it's not their cup of tea! Too many 'elitist' articles and so on (I mean look at that astrophysics problem in the last one!)

If it is one of your brothers, the least he could do is express his misgivings and dislike face to face or via email, instead of cowardly posing as some body else and then calling out f-bombs and a-holes.

But who knows? Maybe it really is some wayward tp that just came upon your blog, saw what you wrote - with that cool pic of Uncle Sam in a strsightjacket, and lost it.

We may never know, but I believe anybod with common sense doesn't frequent blogs that alienate them and they certainly don't waste time posting f-bomb comments which they have to at least have the brains to know will be deleted, as you did.

I personally think the tea partiers are all off their rockers, and the arguments you've given are very powerful in that sense.

Don't let any of these nutcases deter you or intimidate you from what you're doing even they may be a brother incognito!

Copernicus said...

Caleb wrote:

"If it is one of your brothers, the least he could do is express his misgivings and dislike face to face or via email, instead of cowardly posing as some body else and then calling out f-bombs and a-holes."

Totally agree! In fact, I expect any brother worthy of the name to come right out and say what he has to say (or write) - especially if he doesn't like my blogs. What I don't like is sneaking around and using pseudonymns to curse me out. (Again, this is assuming it is a brother, and not a genuine Tp. But your reasoning on why it wouldn't be a genuine Tp is pretty tight).

Right now, I'm basically on the outs with all my brothers - all 3 of them- based on political disagreements, and also a blog I did some time ago on another brother (in NV) grubbing for $$ to sustain a gambling habit. But hey, that's ok! Brotherhood is often exaggerated and really isn't worth it if it means sacrificing one's own integrity. For example, if I have to cough up $$ to keep a brother's interest, then he isn't interested in being a brother but in using me as an easy mark. I can do without that.

Ditto with a brother who hates me because I have more education than he does, or because my (political) blogs display a kind of "elitism" in his mind. Well, sorry chief, then find other more fertile web sites to mine.

Basically, right now, I personally don't give a flying f*ck. If any of them choose to relate, or on what basis. I am what I am, deal with it or not. If you can't, well keep your own little clique together and have at it.

Thanks for a perspicacious comment!